Sunday, 19 January 2014

A room of her own

'A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction'. 

That's what Virginia Woolf said. 

She was wrong. It turns out a woman must have an entire house of her own and not move in with someone else at the age of 37, after having lived alone for at least eight years. 

I've been living alone for so long that I can't even remember how long it is. For the first few months I thought it was awful. My boyfriend legged it you see, after living with each other for the best part of a decade, and I was all sad about coming home to an empty flat every day. 

I used to have a cry about how lonely it was and how no one wanted to hear about my day. And then I remembered that even when I was living with someone, no one really wanted to hear about my day anyway. 

And then I discovered the joys of living alone. The many, many, MANY joys. Walking around naked. And yes, I could have done that when living with my boyfriend, but he didn't really fancy me for the last few years so that would have just been awkward. And also I'm one of those very British 'embarrassed to be naked' types. It just feels wrong. I mean, you always need a pair of knickers don't you?

So in addition to being naked when I feel like it, I liked the fact that I didn't have to put the heating on. I like the cold, OK? I like fresh air. I like wrapping up warm. I heartily dislike sweating and not being able to breathe so not having anyone moaning at me about the heating was awesome. And then I could watch whatever I wanted on TV and, for the first time in 8 years, I was no longer squished into the corner of the bed while a 6 ft 4 dude hogged most of it. I rediscovered the JOY of sleeping alone. All that 'the bed's cold and empty' is a load of toss shite. The bed is full of my things - my laptop, my books, my cat and ME. And if I want to sleep like a starfish I can. And there's no one poking their erection into the small of my back every morning like it's somehow my responsibility. Excellent. 

Coming and going whenever you want. No one to question your dubious sleeping cycle. Staying up till 5 cos you're freelance and you can sleep all day if you bloody well want to. Not having to be in a routttinnnnnnnnnnnnnnne. Man, I hate routines. Hate them. HATE THEM. 

I like being able to wake up grumpy as fuck and not have to deal with anyone until I feel like it. I like coming home from wherever I've been and not have to speak to anyone. I'm not always a big talker. I like to be very silent sometimes and if I'm not on my own I feel obliged to talk. 

And now I have been living with someone else for a month. Almost exactly a month. And it's tricky. I mean, it is my ma and we have the usual mother/daughter stylee issues. And it's her house. It's not my family home. I've never lived here, my family home is long gone in the mists of time, my parents left there before dad died. So this is just a house to me. 

It was never going to be easy though was it? I haven't lived with my folks since I was 21. And it was different then. There were two of them for a start. Am slightly concerned we're going to go all Grey Gardens and in 20 years time someone will shoot a documentary of our crazy house and our crazy passive aggressive comments. 

And I miss my own space. However, my mother is overall an adorable woman. If she could only kick her cleaning fetish into touch every now and again. It's probably doing me lots of good living with someone else and having to have a routine of sorts. It's making me more normal. And that's what we all strive for innit. Normality. 

So anyway, I would like to adjust Ms Woolf's quote a tad. 'A woman needs money and an entire house of her own in order to write fiction.'

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